Charter’s Rutledge: 'We’ve Had Discussions' With Comcast About Licensing X1

It's a startling revelation considering cable operator has spent gobs of money developing and deploying its own cloud-based video system
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Charter Communications Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said during today’s first quarter earnings call that his company has had talks with Comcast about licensing the X1 video platform, as well as the new related streaming video product, Xfinity Flex.

Comcast's X1 platform

Comcast's X1 platform

“If we can make that the best platform for us, we’re certainly willing to do that,” Rutledge told investment analysts, after being asked about the possibility of becoming a white-label licensor of X1 at the end fo the earnings call.

Rutledge didn’t say how recent the discussions were. And he expressed fondness for Charter’s current video technology.

RELATED: Rutledge: Video’s Still Important

“We like having our own UI, and we like having the ability to change that UI at the pace we want to change it and have it reflect our marketing strategy,” Rutledge said.

“If we could check all the boxes in terms of flexibility and low cost, we could be a vendor of Comcast and their platform,” he added. “But to date, we haven’t been able to do that.”

Comcast licenses X1 to Cox Communications in the U.S., as well as Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Videotron in Canada.

The fact that Charter would even consider licensing X1 is noteworthy, considering it has put so much time and money developing its own cloud-based video platform.

In 2015, for example, Charter teamed with Arris to pay $135 million to buy Active Video, the company that provides the backbone to its Spectrum Guide video system. 

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